Use this 5-cone drill to develop your defensive technique.
Finishing the play as an infielder is something that is not practiced often enough. Players work on getting in a good fielding position and securing the ball, but then an errant throw to first doesn’t allow you to get the out. You should use a four-seam grip on the ball when making the throw, which should be strong and accurate. The key to a strong, accurate throw is your feet and momentum to first base.
The five-cone drill can help players in finishing the play. As the drill states, you will use five cones to help simulate different parts of the play.
To start, draw a straight line in the dirt, approximately 10 feet in length, from your starting position towards home plate. The line simulates the angle that the ground ball is coming towards you. Place a cone at the top of the line. You’ll then get into ready position behind this cone.
Also put one cone at a 45-degree angle, close to the first cone. If you are right-handed, the cone goes on the right side of the line while facing towards home plate. If you are left-handed, the cone goes on the left side of the line while facing towards home plate. This cone simulates your first step, creating an area where you can read the speed of the ball and the hop.
The third cone goes in the area where you may field the ball. This is generally at the other end of the line, where you will break down into fielding position. Then, add two more cones to show where your right foot and left foot should land in order to step and throw and keep momentum going to your target.
The first time through the progression, walk through it without a ball just to make sure you have the rhythm, ready position and are creating an angle with your right foot and then left foot (left, then right for left-handers) into the fielding position and throw.
Gradually the speed of the drill will start to pick up a little as you feel more comfortable with this movement. Once you are comfortable, then add a ball to the drill. Start with the ball in the pocket of the glove and as soon as you get into fielding position and make the exchange, move towards first base to make the throw. As a final step, have a coach or teammate roll a ball to you, executing at game speed.
This drill will allow you to move your feet and gain momentum to first base, creating more accurate throws and more outs.